HOSTED COSTA DEL SOL & ALGARVE
Toronto to Malaga
A classic favourite! This complete hosted Mediterranean vacation combines the best of Spain and Portugal! Start with 14 nights in Costa del Sol in a luxury hotel located on stunning Carihuela beach with breakfast and dinner daily. Then transfer to Portugal for 15 nights at a deluxe resort, a hidden gem in the Balaia area between Albufeira and Vilamoura in the Algarve. Enjoy the expansive beaches, white-washed villages and stunning seascapes. End your stay with three nights in Lisbon, one of Europe’s most fascinating cities, and taste traditional Portuguese tapas with wine tasting. You will also visit Sintra a UNESCO World Heritage site.
• round-trip airfare
• Costa del Sol: 14 nights at the Hotel Sol House Aloha Costa del Sol right on the seafront promenade, with two meals daily
• fully-renovated suites with free WiFi, pool area with sunbeds overlooking the sea
• four full-day excursions, including: Granada, Cordoba, Gilbraltar and Nerja with lunch
• two half-day excursions to Malaga with tapas dinner and Flamenco show and Mijas with dinner
• Algarve: 15 nights at the Grand Real Santa Eulalia Apartments with two meals daily
• one-bedroom land view apartment with balcony, free WiFi, free shuttle to Albufeira, outdoor heated pool
• two excursions to Moorish Heritage including, wine tasting and Loule Market
• Lisbon: three nights at the Turim Marques Hotel with breakfast, walking tour, tapas, and Sintra tour with lunch
• all transfers and gratuities
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Day 1 | Feb. 28, 2018 | TORONTO—MALAGA, SPAIN
Board your overnight Air Transat flight 479 departs Toronto at 6:00p.m. arrives Montreal 7:15p.m. and connects with Air Transat flight 254 departs Montreal at 8:30 p.m. arrives Malaga 9:30a.m. the following day.
Day 2 | Mar. 1, 2018 | ARRIVE IN MALAGA, COSTA DEL SOL (D)
Upon arrival in Malaga, meet your local representative and transfer to the Sol House Aloha Hotel in Costa del Sol. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening with your group.
Accommodations: Sol House Aloha Costa del Sol.
Address: Salvador Allende, 45 Torremolinos 29620 Spain
Phone: (34) 952 387066
The Sol House Aloha Costa del Sol is situated on the seafront promenade and near Puerto Marina close to restaurants, bars and markets within walking distance, with breakfast and dinner included daily. Fully renovated one-bedroom suites feature a double bed or two twin beds with a modern loft style design. All rooms have been recently redecorated and include two flat-screen TVs, air conditioning, free WiFi, safe, and a full bathroom with rain shower or bathtub. Enjoy the gorgeous pool area with sunbeds overlooking the sea.
Days 3-15 | Mar. 1-Mar. 14, 2018 | COSTA DEL SOL (B, D)
Enjoy the amenities at your resort, take a stroll on the beach, go shopping or just soak up the atmosphere. You have six cultural tours included in your vacation. Your tour host will be available for suggestions on local excursions. Breakfast and dinner is included daily at your resort!
Day 4 | Mar. 2, 2018 | MALAGA (D)
HALF DAY EXCURSION TO MALAGA WITH TAPAS DINNER AND FLAMENCO SHOW: Meet at the hotel lobby for a 3:00 p.m. departure. This afternoon, you will tour the city of Malaga, described once by Nobel Price winner Vicente Alexandre, as the City of Paradise. Starting with the “Alcazaba” (Citadel) and the ancient Roman Theatre located nearby the house where Picasso was born. “The Gibralfaro” an old Arab Fortress offers fantastic views over the city and the Mediterranean, and the Cathedral is one of the best examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture. The interior, with its high and wide naves is noteworthy for its chapels, choir-stalls and paintings by Cano, Morales and Coello. Enjoy a Tapas dinner at a local restaurant and then you will attend a live performance of a fabulous Flamenco Show at a local ‘Tablao’ and return back to your hotel in Costa del Sol.
Day 8 | Mar. 6, 2018 | MIJAS (D)
EXCURSION TO MIJAS WITH DINNER: Meet at the hotel lobby for a 4 p.m. departure. This afternoon, you will visit Mijas, situated on the edge of the mountains surrounded by pine trees and facing the Mediterranean sea, 8 km from Fuengirola and the Coast, and 428m above sea level. Mijas is a village full of history and culture that still conserves the image of a traditional Andalusian village. Mijas is also called the “Essence of Andalusia” where the flavour of the popular architecture combines in its white houses with the barred windows full of flowers and its narrow streets. There are many places to visit by foot, including: the shrine of the “Virgen de la Peña”, Parish Church, the Bullring, the auditorium and the “Carromato (wagon) de Max”, a museum of miniatures. There are alternatives to walking such as the Mijas Burro Taxis (donkies) where, for an extra cost, you can be carried in the traditional method through the narrow streets. After your tour, you will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and return back to your hotel.
Day 10 | Mar. 8, 2018 | NERJA & FRIGILIANA (L)
FULL DAY EXCURSION TO NERJA & FRIGILIANA: Meet at the hotel lobby for a 9:00 a.m. departure. In the Eastern Coast of Malaga Province, Frigiliana shines with mosaic-paved streets and immaculate white houses. This beautiful village maintains a Morisco-Mudejar centre, which has received numerous awards for its excellent state of conservation. Taste the local sweet wine and enjoy free time for strolling around. A few kilometres from Frigiliana, you will find Nerja, a village that still retains much of the character of its Moorish past, with its historic centre housing the Balcon de Europa (Balcony of Europe). Formerly an 11th century castle, it is now a viewing point above the sea. To the side of the Balcon is the 17th century El Salvador Church constructed in Barroque- Mudejar style. You will also visit the magnificent prehistoric caves known as the “Underground Cathedral”, a unique example of natural architecture, with stalactites and stalagmites that were formed over millions of years. A delicious lunch will be served at Restaurant Servillano.
Day 13 | Mar. 12, 2018 | CORDOBA (L)
FULL DAY EXCURSION TO CORDOBA: Meet at the hotel lobby for an 8:30 a.m. departure. On this tour you will visit one of the most emblematic buildings of Islamic Art, the Aljama Mosque. It is a fascinating building which offers surprising light and colour effects as well as beautiful doors and nearly a thousand columns. The Cathedral of Gothic, Baroque and Plateresque elements was built in the 16th Century. The panoramic tour shows the Roman Bridge displaying the restoration work performed by the Muslims. The “Juderia” (Jewish Quarter), with its Synagogue, situated near “La Aljama” district. After lunch at restaurant Bandolero, you will have free time for shopping the local handicrafts, before returning to Costa del Sol.
Day 14 | Mar. 13, 2018 | GILBRALTAR (L)
Meet at the hotel lobby for a 9:00 a.m. departure. On this tour visit Gilbraltar, a British Colony since 1713. It is often described as the shopping centre of the Western Mediterranean, with a large range of shops offering a vast selection of goods and where you will see the most spectacular sights on the Rock. St. Michael’s Cave. Situated at a height of approximately 300m above sea level, this is one of Europe’s most dramatic natural grottoes, a remarkable example of natural architecture. The cave consists of an upper Hall connected by five passages, with drops of between 12m and 45m to a smaller Hall decorated by stalactites and stalagmites. The Ape’s Den. The Apes are tail-less monkeys properly known as Barbary Macaques. Roaming freely along the upper rock, these endearing creatures will enchant you with their antics. They are perhaps the best known of Gibraltar’s attractions. We will stop for lunch at Restaurant le Square café and will have some free time to explore before returning back to your hotel.
Day 15 | Mar. 14, 2018 | GRANADA (L)
FULL DAY GRANADA TOUR: Meet at the hotel lobby for an 8:00 a.m. departure. Discover the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Alhambra on this fascinating tour. You'll explore beyond the beautiful Moorish architecture to learn the history of one of the most visited attractions in the world. Your visit begins in the Alhambra, whose construction began in the 11th century on the red hill known as Assabika, which overlooks Granada. The Alcazaba fortress was the first structure to be built, followed by the Royal Palace and Residence of members of the court. You will visit the most important halls and courtyards of the Alhambra, including: the Alcazaba fortress, the Serrallo, the Patio of los Arrayanes (Myrtle Courtyard), the Hall of la Barca, the Salon of the Embajadores (Ambassadors Hall), the Patio de los Leones (Lions Courtyard), the Hall of the Abencerrajes, the Royal Baths and the Palace of Charles V. Your tour then continues to the Palace of Charles V and the Generalife Gardens. Found next to the Alhambra, these gardens were a place of leisure and recreation for the Moorish kings of Granada and from here you can enjoy wonderful views across the city. You'll enjoy lunch at Restaurant H. Carmen, and then have some free time to explore Granada on your own before returning back to your hotel.
Day 16 | Mar. 15, 2018 | COSTA DEL SOL, SPAIN— ALGARVE, PORTUGAL (B, D)
Please check out and bring your luggage to the lobby by 8:00am. Today you will depart after breakfast and transfer to the Algarve via motor coach. Enjoy the scenic route to Portugal (approximately a five-hour drive) and arrive in the Algarve in the early afternoon. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner with your group at 7:00 p.m.
Accommodations: Grand Real Santa Eulalia. Hotel
Address: Praia de Santa Eulalia, PO Box 2445, Albufeira 8200-916, Portugal
Phone: +351 289 598 010
This luxurious hotel has a stunning location with lush gardens, spacious pool areas and is across from Santa Eulalia beach, just east of the lively resort area of Albufeira. One-bedroom apartment with twin beds in the bedroom plus one sofa-bed in the living room, complete kitchenette including, a small fridge, electric rings, microwave, coffee machine, and toaster, (no stove). Apartments are located either on the ground floor or with stairs up to the second floor with balcony or terrace. Satellite TV, radio, safe, mini bar, air conditioning, WiFi, as well as bathroom with a hairdryer. Relax in the outdoor heated pool or explore the local area with your tour host. Breakfast and dinner is included daily at the resort! You will also find a Thalasso hydrotherapy circuit, sauna, jacuzzi. There is a charge for the use of this service as it is managed by an external company. Merit Travel guests will receive one free access per person to the Thalasso hydrotherapy circuit during your stay. Special rates of €15 per person, per entry will then apply.
Days 17-30 | Mar. 16-29, 2018 | ALBUFEIRA, ALGARVE (B, D)
You have included in your vacation two cultural tours. Your tour host will be available for suggestions on local excursions. Breakfast and dinner is included daily at your resort!
Day 18 | Mar. 17, 2018 | LOULÉ
HALF DAY LOULE MARKET EXCURSION: Meet in the lobby for 9:30 a.m.
departure by coach to Loulé, an attractive town in the countryside for a guided tour and to visit the weekly Market that attracts tourists from all over the region. The town’s landmark is the Market Building where the local farmers sell fresh products such as fish, fruits and vegetables. Enjoy some time to walk in the narrow streets of Loulé, and visit the medieval castle and the city wall.
Day 20 | Mar. 21, 2018 | SILVES (L)
FULL DAY MOORISH HERITAGE EXCURSION WITH WINE TASTING: Meet in the lobby for a 9 a.m. departure by coach towards the town of Silves, a charming town situated on the banks of the Arade River. Silves was once the capital of the Algarve, and referred to as the “Kingdom of the Algarve” in the 19th century. Arriving in Silves, we will have a guided visit through the old town to learn more about the history of this area. The Castle of Silves is the best preserved castle in the Algarve. It was built on the site of late Roman and Visigoth fortifications from the 4th and 5th centuries. The castle was built out of large red sandstone blocks. The Cathedral is considered the most important gothic monument in the Algarve. The origins of the monument are still unknown. Some documents date it to 1189, when Silves was taken by the Christian troops to the Moors; the Cathedral was built over the ancient Mosque. Another impressive sight is the ‘Cruz de Portugal’ (the Cross of Portugal), a limestone cross dating from the 15th or 16th century. After visiting Silves, we continue to one of the local award-winning wineries.
Day 31 | Mar. 30, 2018 | ALGARVE—LISBON(B)
Please check out and be ready in the lobby for 10:00 a.m. You will depart from your hotel in the morning by coach for Lisbon (approx. three hours drive). Upon arrival in Lisbon you will transfer to the Hotel Turim Marques for a three nights stay. This afternoon enjoy a Lisbon walking tour at 2 p.m. to explore the hidden gems of this fascinating city. Discover Lisbon's old city centre followed by a wine tasting. You will have the opportunity to taste some of the most traditional Portuguese Tapas (petiscos) and also some iconic Portuguese wines, which will include the famous Port wine!
Accommodations: Hotel Turim Marques
Address: Rua Mouzinho da Silveira 26, Santo Antonio Lisbon 1250-167
Phone: +351 210 495 690
Day 32 | Mar. 31, 2018 | LISBON (B, D)
FULL DAY SINTRA AND CASCAIS TOUR WITH LUNCH: After breakfast, depart from your hotel at 9 a.m. by coach to see the city’s highlights. During your tour, enjoy an informative commentary and a relaxing drive through the town, stopping to take photographs at famous landmarks and places of interest such as: the Monument to the Discoveries, Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery. Continue to the charming town of Sintra, where you can admire many stunning buildings and works of art. The whole town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Upon arrival you will visit Sintra National Palace, also known as Palácio da Vila, famous for its magnificent painted ceilings. After your visit to the palace enjoy some free time to explore the town. From Sintra, continue to Cabo da Roca, the most western point of Europe, where you will have time to photograph the stunning views. Your tour ends with a visit to Cascais, a popular resort with a wonderful bay lined by elegant houses, before returning to your hotel.
Day 33 | Apr. 1, 2018 | LISBON (B)
Day is at leisure free for shopping or exploring.
Day 34 | Apr. 2, 2018 | LISBON—TORONTO (B)
This morning transfer to the airport for your flight home. Air Transat flight 733 departs Lisbon at 10:00 a.m. arrives Toronto 3:30 p.m.
END OF SERVICES.
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*CDN$ pp. dbl. occ. taxes included. Hotel Sol House Costa del Sol and Grand Santa Eulalia with half board meal plan. Single supplement: $1,700. Airfare available from most Canadian airports please enquire.
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